When I first heard Maps‘ debut, We Can Create, I knew it would make the shortlist for the Mercury Prize. And it did. The gorgeous washes of synthesizer, layer upon layer of sound, but with pop underpinnings, it’s the kind of album that gets nominated but never wins. "It’s just an honor to be nominated," Maps-maker James Chapman will say when Bat for Lashes wins. (That’s right, I’m declaring it right now.)
A record that’s flown mostly under the radar so far this year, the dense electronic miasma that is We Can Create should appeal to fans of Ulrich Schnauss, the MORR label, My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse… basically anything that is shoegazy (and a bit gothy) but has loads of keyboards. Chatman’s press photos are a little silly, but there’s no faulting the music.
I’m sure there’s some (bad) joke to be made about Maps and touring, but I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night so if you’ve got a good one, write it in the comments, won’t you? The point is Maps are coming to America for a short tour in September, including two NYC dates. As the album was made in Chapman’s bedroom on a 16-track, I’m not sure how it’s going to translate to a live show. But I’m willing to find out.
Maps on tour:
9.22 Seattle, WA KEXP Benefit – Crocodile Cafe
9.24 San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill (tickets)
9.26 Los Angeles, CA Spaceland (tickets)
9.28 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
9.29 Brooklyn, NY Luna Lounge (tickets)